259165 Privatizing public housing in the 21st century: A health impact assessment of the Rental Assistance Demonstration Project

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 : 10:30 AM - 10:50 AM

Lili Farhang, MPH , Human Impact Partners, Oakland, CA
Kim Gilhuly, MPH , Human Impact Partners, Oakland, CA
Saneta deVuono-powell, JD , Human Impact Partners, Oakland, CA
Alexi Nunn Freeman, JD , Advancement Project, Washington, DC
Anita Sinha, JD , Advancement Project, Washington, DC
Liz Ryan Murray , National People's Action, Chicago, IL
Today, there are 2.3 million people living in federally-funded public housing, over half a million families receiving rental vouchers, and over one million people on public housing and voucher wait lists. While the demand for housing assistance has increased over time, funding for public housing has decreased substantially. In response to these challenges, in 2011, Congress proposed the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) project to re-organize public housing funding and management structures. Though the health vulnerabilities of public housing residents are well documented, RAD discussions did not include consideration of health impacts. To address this gap, Human Impact Partners, Advancement Project, and National People's Action conducted a Health Impact Assessment of RAD in 2011-2012. Using mixed research methods, the HIA assessed the impacts of RAD on: management, evictions, and resident organizing; housing affordability, stability, and quality; and social capital. Overall, the HIA found that RAD would have significant impacts on the health of public housing residents, and the impacts were more negative than positive especially if recommendations proposed in the HIA were not adopted. Negative impacts included decreasing social cohesion, decreasing housing stability, and increasing stress. Positive impacts included improving housing maintenance and decreasing crime and violence. HIA findings are currently being communicated to relevant decision-makers, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This project is the first HIA conducted on a federal housing policy. In this session, we will present the HIA background, assessment findings and recommendations, and progress on how the HIA impacted the policy process.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain findings, stakeholder engagement strategies, and policy impacts related to the federal Rental Assistance Demonstration project HIA. 2. Discuss national and local intervention points and dissemination strategies for use of HIA results. 3. Demonstrate the successes and challenges of conducting an HIA on federal housing policy.

Keywords: Housing, Social Inequalities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted research as part of the HIA, supported report-writing, and communicated findings.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.